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Here’s a travel truth we refuse to save: Europe does not have to be expensive.
There is much more to Europe than overblown capitals and expensive hotspots. For budget travelers, the savings are to be found in the hidden gems, and not just in Eastern Europe.
This season, travelers looking to save some money should skip Barcelona, London, Paris, and Vienna.
Head to these four underrated European destinations for a cheaper European vacation:
Just 30 miles south of Cádiz, along the Andalusian coast, lies the underrated and affordable surf capital of El Palmar de Vejer.
While this beige-sand town doesn’t look like much at first glance, travelers will discover that it’s much more than meets the eye.
Friendly surf camps, fresh seafood, and fun beach bars are all cheap.
Surf lodges are $25-30 per night, while simple hotels and glamping are $40-70 per night.
An entree at a simple local restaurant averages around $10. Tapas are around $3 a plate, and a glass of wine or beer will set you back just $2.50.
The Guardian describes the affordable nightlife scene here is « low-key and lively, » teeming with « hot 20-somethings enjoying Khruangbin. »
Travelers on an extreme budget will love El Palmar’s hitchhiking roads. While public transportation isn’t great in town, truckers and locals are generally happy to pick up travelers on their way to the area’s pristine beaches and kitesurfing hotspots—no car needed. expensive rent.
However, El Palmar will not be a well-kept secret for much longer. Travelers should explore this hidden coastal gem while it’s still affordable and under the radar.
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Spectacular Art Nouveau architecture, Baltic beaches, lively nightlife, and Europe’s largest market for just $40 a day? Yes please!
The capital of Latvia is a true hidden gem for budget travelers. Visitors will enjoy strolling along the banks of the Daugava River and taking in a bit of scenic history in this walkable capital city.
Tourists can grab a drink for the ‘gram in the Centrs neighborhood or have a cheap picnic in Kronvalda or Bastejkalns Parks. Most of Riga’s historical and cultural sites are free or cheap (less than $7).
You can find hostel beds for as little as $12 a night, or top-rated social hostels for $25 a night. Good budget hotels average $45, while full-service hotels are around $80.
Nightlife in Riga offers some of the best values (and best times) in the Baltics.
Local beers start at $2 at the bar, and simple drinks made with local Riga Black Balsam liqueur can be as low as $5. Most of the clubs are free to enter. Beer bikes and pub crawls are about $36.
According For Hostelworld, travelers love the nightlife here so much that Riga has replaced Prague as the European capital of stag parties.
What do Coco Chanel and Queen Victoria have in common? Well, aside from world-class elegance, they both frequented the beaches of Biarritz back in the day.
The architecture of this French surf town evokes old money and Hollywood celebrities. These days, La Grande Plage is packed with younger generations of visitors basking in the sun over a bottle of chilled wine or a $10 liter of sangria.
Literally everyone in Biarritz, regardless of budget or nationality, gathers on its beaches and cliffs at sunset to bid farewell to the sun-soaked day with beach parties.
Like any European beach town, Biarritz’s high summer season prices can be a bit high. Still, budget travelers can find surf hostel dorms for $37 (board rental included) or simple hotel rooms for $82. Those prices drop by a third in the off-season, so budget-conscious travelers cash should time their trip accordingly.
Considering the glamorous European beach vacation you’re getting, this vintage French gem offers the best value.
The « little big city » lives up to its nickname, and then some.
This quirky underrated Eastern European capital is often dwarfed by nearby Vienna and Budapest, but ultimately deserves to receive its fair share of hype. (It’s also a great budget hack to base your trip in Bratislava and take a day trip to Vienna, just an hour away by train.)
If you don’t fall for Bratislava’s eclectic architecture, you might love their $1.60 pints. That’s right – Bratislava ranges number one as the city with the “stupidest cheap beer in the world”.
The accommodation won’t break the bank either. Hostels start at $10 a night, while cheap hotels and apartments cost between $55 and $80.
Bratislava is also one of the cheapest destinations to pick up some culture. Front-row tickets to the opera are under $45, more than $300 cheaper than in most European cities. Plus, you don’t need to pay museum admission to see art; from bratislava Street art it’s everywhere and (obviously) free.
Many historical and cultural sites are also free, such as the Bratislava Castle and the Presidential Palace. Others are super affordable, like $11 for a boat ride and admission to Devin Castle.
Free public movie screenings on Bratislava’s Magio Beach are a crowd pleaser. Budget travelers also love to picnic on the castle walls to watch the sun set over the Danube.
Whether you’re looking for old Hollywood vibes, a laid-back surf town, or a quirky party town, there’s something for every budget traveler in Europe this summer.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com